"D Day," 6 June 1998, was the date for our first triathlon. The check-in and swim finish area was below our new property at Juan Gallego. We hired local pangas to carry the swimmers to the start on the white beach at Isla Grande. What a sight to see the entrants show up with their bright bicycles, ready to go, lycra-clad, serious, enthusiastic. The course details of that year and the next two were colorful and changing. What we gained that day were some volunteers from the coast who became excited about supporting our triathlon there. There were Allens, Baitels, Manny Berastengui, Melissa Ravenal, Gae Speed and the Karate kids and neighbor land owners at the swim finish.
Our Juan Gallego neighbors not only helped at the check-in site next to their house but set up for us our first email account and chose our email name. That "new" technology dates the event for us to this day. It reminds us that there were no cell phones for us to use there in 1998. Public telephones were not reliable. Our internet access was through internet cafes. We rode on unpaved roads for most of the bike course. We tracked the athletes with the help of friends who were amateur radio operators. The GPS modes we used to map the course still wiggled an inexact location for military security reasons.
We had mapped out a 5 year plan for our triathlon in the District of Portobelo that included plans for an Ironman distance race in Panama. We expected to continue to be in charge to make it all happen. We would hire a Race Director for the Portobelo race because we intended to take part in all the triathlons that we put on. The events would be training incentives for us. We set up a local, Costa Arriba, Board of Directors for the Portobelo triathlon on the model of the volunteer Ironman Board of Directors in Kona.